Tibet: An Open Letter to Kofi Annan
An Open Letter to Kofi Annan from Three Tibetans on Hunger Strike
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
Good morning and Tashi Delek. Today marks the 27th day of our indefinite
hunger strike at the front doorstep of the United Nations headquarters
in New York. We are three young Tibetans, born in exile, who have never
seen our homeland. Invaded by China in 1949, Tibet remains under
occupation, and the Chinese government continues to deny Tibetans our
fundamental rights as enshrined in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights.
We represent the young generation of Tibetans, born as stateless
refugees, yearning to live in freedom in our own country. The U.N.
General Assembly passed three resolutions— in 1959, 1961, and 1965—
calling for human rights and freedom in Tibet, but has since then failed
to take any meaningful action. We have demonstrated at the United
Nations more times than we can remember. We have lobbied U.N.
representatives at the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. We have
sent countless letters to the U.N. pleading for support. Diplomats and
United Nations officials have quietly assured us of their personal
sympathies, but the situation in Tibet remains dire. There are no words
to describe our frustration.
We have undertaken this hunger strike as the most serious nonviolent
means we have to display the depth of both our frustration and our
resolve. We look at the world around us caught in an endless cycle of
violence, fear and anger. Those who resort to violent means, taking
innocent lives and sowing chaos, receive the attention of the media and
the world community. The U.N. calls for world peace, and yet it ignores
and silences a people who have steadfastly waged their struggle through
We worry about the signal the United Nations is sending to the younger
generations of our people. They grow increasingly frustrated and ask
themselves whether a nonviolent movement will bring them the justice
they hunger for. Your Excellency, please show them that violence and
terror are not the sole means of compelling the United Nations to act.
Please show them that you value peaceful perseverance and nonviolent
After 27 days, we are no longer hungry for food, only for freedom and
justice. We trust that you understand the urgency of this matter and ask
that you come see us, just outside your office. We look forward to
meeting you and hearing what action you will take to further the
peaceful struggle for human rights and freedom in Tibet.
For freedom and peace,
Ms. Dolma Choephel, Mr. Sonam Wangdu, Mr. Gyatso
New York City, New York
For more information on the Hunger Strike and a photo gallery of the
strikers, please visit